Medical Assistance in Dying: Information for Patients & Families
What is Medical Assistance In Dying?
Medical Assistance In Dying (MAiD) means that a Physician or Nurse Practitioner provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a patient’s death, at the request of the patient, provided that the patient meets strict legal criteria.
Why is it important for Queensway Carleton Hospital to support Medical Assistance In Dying?
QCH is committed to providing compassionate, patient-centered care to all its’ patients. Offering Medical Assistance In Dying as one of the possible options for end-of-life care to qualifying patients is about offering compassionate and high-quality care at a difficult time for QCH patients and their families. Information on additional services for people nearing the end of life is available in our palliative care section.
What are the criteria for Medical Assistance In Dying?
To be eligible for medical assistance in dying, patients must:
- Be a capable adult who is at least 18 years old
- Provide clear informed consent to medical assistance in dying after having made a voluntary request. This means that patients must be informed of alternative options for care, such as palliative care. Patients may withdraw their request at any time.
- Have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, which means:
- They have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.
- They are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.
- They are experiencing enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable.
- Be eligible for health services funded by the Government in Canada.
What does capable mean?
A capable person has decision-making capacity. This means that person is able to:
- Understand information that is relevant to making a decision about treatment.
- Appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision.
What does it mean to clearly consent?
The person requesting Medical Assistance in Dying will need to make a written request for MAiD. This must be witnessed by someone who is signing the document at the same time as the requestor.
How will requests be assessed?
The person requesting Medical Assistance In Dying will be assessed by at least two independent Physicians or Nurse Practitioners. Both assessors must agree that the requestor meets the criteria above.
Can a person receive MAiD at QCH?
Yes. If you, or a loved one, are a patient in the hospital and would like to discuss MAiD, reach out to someone on the Care Team. You may also contact our MAiD team directly:
Does the requesting person have to undergo treatment first?
No, it is not required to undergo treatment before requesting Medical Assistance in Dying. However, patients should be made aware of all of their options for care as part of the informed consent process.
What if a Physician or Nurse Practitioner objects to Medical Assistance In Dying?
Healthcare providers have the right to conscientiously refuse to participate in Medical Assistance In Dying based on moral or religious beliefs. Queensway Carleton Hospital is respectful of this right. If a request for Medical Assistance In Dying is made to a Physician or Nurse Practitioner who objects, the requestor will be referred quickly to a Physician or Nurse Practitioner who is willing to participate.
Can a patient write down their wishes for Medical Assistance In Dying in case they lose capacity to make decisions? Or, can family members make the decision to pursue Medical Assistance In Dying on their behalf?
The person requesting Medical Assistance In Dying must be considered to be capable at the time of the request. The request cannot be written down ahead of time and no one else – including family – can make the request on the patient’s behalf.
It is, however, a good idea to discuss and record wishes for end of life care with loved ones so that they understand what is important in a patient’s care. Medical Assistance in Dying is only one of many options that may be considered when caring for patients at the end of life.
Can the person requesting Medical Assistance In Dying change their mind?
Yes. Anyone who requests medical assistance in dying can change their mind at any time, for any reason. The requestor should tell the Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or other member of the healthcare team that they have changed their mind. The Physician or Nurse Practitioner will discuss what other options there are for care. The patient can be assured that all alternative options will be of high-quality and compassionate.
Where can a person go if they have other questions?
If there are additional questions, patients should discuss them with their Physician, Nurse Practitioner or other member of the healthcare team.
Champlain Regional MAiD Network
Medical Aid in Dying in the Champlain region is coordinated through a central office. You may visit the website for the Champlain Regional MAiD Network to learn more about the process. You will also find links to other excellent resources for patients, families, and healthcare providers.
Bridge C-14 is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful connections of support for families and loved ones throughout all stages of assisted death. They are committed to creating a culture where dignity, choice, and grief, are honoured and valued. To read more about what Bridge C-14 can offer you or your loved ones, or to access their services, please see their website.
Referrals for Medical Assistance in Dying to Champlain Regional MAID Network
The Champlain Regional Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Network (CRMN) provides information and system navigation to individuals, families and healthcare providers who wish to learn more about MAiD. CRMN represents a network of organizations across the Champlain region who are involved in MAiD, including the Queensway Carleton Hospital.
Patients can refer themselves to the Champlain Regional MAiD Network. Our team will then reach out to you to explain the process and discuss your individual needs.
Referrals and inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the Ocean eReferral platform is available for most community physicians to create and submit referrals directly from their electronic medical records (compatible EMRs include Telus PSS, QHR Accuro, and certain versions of OSCAR). For more information, please contact Champlain_eReferral_Team@lhins.on.ca
After-hour referrals may also be directed to the Ontario MAiD Care Coordination Service at 1-866-286-4023 for support in meeting any referral requirements. The Ontario MAiD information line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Referral services are available Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST in English and French (translations for other languages can also be requested). TTY (voice-to-text and text-to-voice) services are also available at 1-844-953-3350.
Please complete the Regional Referral for Medical Assistance in Dying.